TRIBUTES have poured in for highly respected former school head teacher Geoff Leend who has died at the age of 61 following a long illness.
Mr Leend, of St Issey, had more than 40 years' experience in teaching and was a head teacher in Cornwall for 21 years – first at Padstow Primary School and then, for nine years, at Wadebridge Primary.
Illness forced Mr Leend to retire shortly before Christmas in 2011 and his friend and former deputy Peter Flynn paid tribute to an "innovative" man.
Mr Flynn said: "Geoff was a valued friend and we are deeply shocked. He was a true professional who always gave 100 per cent to the school.
"He believed in educating the whole child and placed great emphasis on the creative side as well as the academic.
"He inspired confidence in his colleagues and had a great sense of humour. He was kind and generous and always saw the good in people; never once have I heard him say anything detrimental about anyone.
"When he got the job at Wadebridge Primary the whole staff was unanimously in favour of his appointment."
Mr Flynn said Mr Leend was "always innovative and ahead of his game".
He said: "When he wanted to build an adult education creative suite, library and food technology facility, officials told him he couldn't do it without help and advice and told him it was nothing but a "pipe dream". The day it was opened, he looked at the officials and said, "welcome to my pipe dream".
Wadebridge Primary School chairman of governors, Jackie Eason, said: "We are deeply saddened by the news of Geoff's passing. He was our head for many years and was highly respected by parents and staff.
"Geoff led the school with a strong vision and he left a legacy of new buildings including a teaching kitchen and library for future generations to enjoy.
"As a governor who worked with Geoff I will always remember the kindness, dignity and respect with which he conducted himself. He had a special connection with the children of the school and will be greatly missed. Our thoughts today are with his family."
Mr Leend leaves his wife, Mary and two sons, Tom and David.